Moses M. Kotane

Moses Kotane Timeline

1905
9 August, Moses Kotane is born in Tamposstad, to Samuel Segogwane, a lay preacher and traditional healer, and Siporah Mmadira Kotane, a seasonal dressmaker. He is the second eldest son of eleven children.
1918
Kotane goes to work at Driefontein farm, near Zwartruggens. He works for the Scheepers who got along with Kotane. He leaves after working there for two years and is given two heifers.
1920
Kotane attends school for the first time at the age of 15, he feels ashamed when he is taught by the younger more educated students, although none of the teachers are properly qualified.
1921
Kotane transfers to an English tribal school, which also has an unqualified teacher.
1922
Kotane leaves the school and becomes a confirmed member of the Lutheran church.
1924
After a few stints in various employments, Kotane moves to Johannesburg, where he obtains work as a “house boy” at a boarding house in Braamfontein. Over the next three years Kotane moves from job to job but is dissatisfied by his low wages and the inability to get closer to his goals.
1928
During his employment at a bakery Kotane starts to become involved in the struggle. He joins the African National Congress (ANC) after hearing an ANC speaker mention “The Book of Life” (roll of ANC membership).
Moses joins the Bakers Union that was set up by the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA).
1929
At the second SA federation of Trade Unions conference, Kotane is elected vice-chair. A short while later Albert Nzula suggests to Kotane that he should join the Communist Party. At first Kotane refuses, saying he is too busy with the trade union and the ANC. Eventually he is convinced to attend a meeting where he formally Moses joins  the CPSA.
1931
Kotane leaves his job at the bakery to become the compositor of the party paper Umsebenzi (worker).
Kotane moves to the Soviet Union to receive political training at the Lenin School in Moscow.
1933
Kotane arrives back in South Africa after completing his studies and is elected to the Communist Party’s Political Bureau (PB), and political editor of Umsebenzi.
1935
Kotane was removed from the party's political bureau because of an ideological dispute with Lazar Bach, then chairman of the CPSA.
1937
Due to various issues with the leaders in the Johannesburg branch of the SACP, Kotane decides to leave Johannesburg and move to Cape Town, an area in which he was less politically and socially well known.
While in Cape Town, Kotane meets and marries his first wife, Sophie
1938
Kotane is re-elected to the PB, after the CPSA decided to move its headquarters to Cape Town from Johannesburg.
Kotane is also voted in as General Secretary of the party.
1940
22 June 22, Kotane and his wife Sophie have their first child named Joseph, after Joseph Stalin.
1943
Dr Alfred Bathini Xuma invites Kotane to serve on the Atlantic Charter Committee which draws up a document on African Claims.
1942
17 June, Kotane and Sophie Human have their second son Leonard.
November, Kotane is arrested for the first time in his life after speaking to a gathering about supporting the fight against the fascists during the Second World War. He is later released and all charges dropped when it is realised that arresting him would damage the war effort.
1946
Kotane amongst other CPSA leaders is subjected to harassment by the police following his involvement in helping to organise the 1946 Mineworkers Strike.
1949
17 December, During an ANC conference Kotane is chosen, among others, to help draw up The Programme of Action which would be the basis of all ANC actions until its banning in 1960.
1950
June, Kotane moves from Cape Town back to Johannesburg, following the dissolution of the Communist Party after it was banned under the Suppression of Communism Act.
1952
1 June, Despite being banned by the government, Kotane addresses a gathering in Alexandra Township Number 2 Square and subsequently arrested by the authorities the following day. Kotane is convicted and given a nine-month suspended sentence.
1955
February, Kotane leaves South Africa with Maulvi Cachalia, leader of the Indian Congress to attend the Asia-Africa conference 5 in Bandung, Indonesia, as representatives of the liberation movement in South Africa. While travelling to the conference Kotane meets several people, including the leader of Egypt, Gamal Nasser. After the conference Kotane is invited to attend the World Festival of Youth in Warsaw, and then is invited to China to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic.
1956
5 December, Kotane is arrested and charged with high treason, earlier in the year he was harassed by the police for not having a permit to live in the Alexandra Township.
1958
November, The charges of high treason brought against Kotane are dropped by the state.
1960
Kotane is detained by the police for four months and then released.
1962
Kotane is placed under a 24 hour house arrest.
1963
January, Kotane leaves South Africa amid persecution due to the new South African laws.
February, Kotane attends Afro-Asian conference in Moshi and later moves to Dar es Salaam.
1968
December, Kotane suffers a stroke and is moved to a Soviet Union hospital in Moscow for treatment.
1969
April, Kotane is re-elected to the ANC NEC.
1978
19 May, Despite seeming to recover a great deal, Kotane dies from his illness at the age of 72

References:
• Brian Bunting, (1998), Moses Kotane South African revolutionary, (Mayibuye)
• 
Dr. Yusuf Dadoo (1978) ‘Tribute To Moses Kotane: Speech Delivered At  Novodevichy Cemetery,  Moscow, May 26, 1978 from South African Communist Party, unknown (online) Available at www.sacp.org.za Accessed 27 January 2013]
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Last updated : 28-Jan-2016

This article was produced for South African History Online on 14-Feb-2013

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